Deone Bucannon

Cardinals GM Downplays Trade Rumors

The Cardinals are reportedly shopping Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick, but GM Steve Keim is doing his best to throw cold water on the hot stove talk. In a radio interview on Friday, Keim issued a general denial towards trade speculation regarding his team. 

One part of my job is to have dialogue with other teams,” Keim said said on 98.7, Arizona’s Sports Station (via the team website). “The one thing I won’t do, I won’t confirm or deny those things in public, I think you do those things behind the scenes. But it’s a lot of gossip, people enjoy it, it’s water-cooler talk, and a lot of stuff you’ll read is certainly false. Wednesday I woke up to three different names that were brought to my attention and those conversations never happened. So I would just say, for most fans, tread lightly, because very rarely are those accurate.”

It would make plenty of sense for the Cardinals to explore the trade market between now and Oct. 30. With a 1-4 record, the Cards are the current odds-on favorite to wind up with the worst record in the draft. The defense is in the bottom third of the league in both yards allowed and scoring, and the offense has failed to properly utilize one of the league’s most talented offensive weapons in David Johnson, so this would be the logical time for a reboot.

Keim knows this, and that’s why he is looking to preserve team morale without explicitly ruling out any deal.

Some of the names brought up to me will do nothing but bring a chuckle out of me,” Keim said. “You have to listen. You never know what the compensation is going to be. It might be something you couldn’t resist. You look back at the Heschel Walker trade with Dallas, you can never say never. … Sometimes, there’s a lot of procrastination, where you’ll call and there are a lot of conversations that go nowhere, unfortunately. But it’s part of the business and a fun one for fans to follow.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Shopping Deone Bucannon

The Cardinals are “stepping up their efforts” to trade former first-round pick Deone Bucannon before the deadline, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets. JLC reported that Bucannon was on the block over the weekend, but it sounds like the Cardinals are pushing even harder now to get a deal done. 

Bucannon was a first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2014 and broke out in 2015 with a team-high 112 tackles plus three sacks and three forced fumbles. Injuries have slowed him down since then, and he has failed to find a consistent role in coach Steve Wilks‘ defense. Bucannon saw time on 66.57% of the Cards’ defensive snaps last year, but has played on just 53.04% of Arizona’s snaps this year. Over the last three weeks, he’s been in on less than a quarter of the plays.

The Cardinals are 1-4 and also have Haason Reddick on the block, so they could be extremely active between now and the Oct. 30 trade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Haason Reddick, Deone Bucannon On The Trade Block?

The Cardinals drafted former Temple standout Haason Reddick with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft in the hopes that his explosive athleticism would serve him well as a pass rusher and as a run stopper. But Reddick’s development has not gone as planned, as he has played just 30 defensive snaps in the first four weeks of the 2018 season and has struggled to grasp new head coach Steve Wilks‘ defense.

Reddick lost his job as the team’s starting strong side linebacker to veteran journeyman Gerald Hodges, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that there does not appear to be any change in that regard moving forward. As such, La Canfora writes that other teams are considering a possible trade for Reddick, whose potential is still quite high. While it does not sound as though the Cardinals are actively shopping Reddick, La Canfora says they are generally “willing listeners,” so they may be fielding a lot of calls as we get closer to the October 30 trade deadline.

Another former first-round pick, Deone Bucannon, enjoyed plenty of success during his four-year run with the Cardinals from 2014-17. But like Reddick, Bucannon is not being utilized very much in Wilks’ scheme, which is not a great fit for his smaller body type and his hybrid safety/linebacker skills. Bucannon is eligible for free agency this offseason, and he would probably welcome a trade to a team that can make better use of his skill-set during this pivotal year in his career. Indeed, La Canfora says Bucannon will generate a lot of trade interest as well in the next few weeks.

The 0-4 Cardinals will not be competing for a playoff spot this year, and if they are committed to Wilks in the long-term, it may make sense for them to move Reddick and Bucannon in exchange for draft capital that they can use in their rebuild.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Notes: Rosen, Golden, LBs, Smith

With the Cardinals‘ prospects for a playoff berth looking as bleak as they have in a September since before Carson Palmer arrived, noise around the team beginning the Josh Rosen era has obviously increased. Arizona’s Sam Bradford-led attack did not cross midfield until the fourth quarter against the Rams, and the Cards have just six points this season — the fewest of any team through two games since the 2006 Buccaneers. However, don’t count on a Rosen in-game promotion if Arizona’s struggles continue against the Bears on Sunday. While Steve Keim said (via Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic) the first-round pick “has got to be ready,” he would prefer Steve Wilks give him a full week of first-string reps rather than throw him into the fire. As for Wilks, he does see the UCLA product making strides. Rosen was billed as the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft yet will be the last to see action of his first-round peers.

Number one, I think the guy is progressing,” Wilks said during an interview with Sirius XM’s Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan. “He does a great job each and every week trying to prepare himself. He does get some reps with the ones each and every week, so from that standpoint, it’s good. And then he does an excellent job just as far as running the show team as well, so his operation each week is with the ones as well as on the show team. Prep has been good.

“When the time is right, we’ll definitely get him in there.”

Here’s the latest out of the desert:

  • Markus Golden and Jermaine Gresham appear on track to make their 2018 debuts. Both players progressed to full practices this week for the first time this year, per McManaman. Golden’s been out since Week 4 of last season because of an ACL tear. Gresham hasn’t played since Week 17, when the tight end ruptured an Achilles’ tendon. Both began camp on the PUP list. This will be Gresham’s age-30 season, and it’s even more critical for Golden. The edge rusher is set to begin a contract year, so showing he’s recovered from the severe knee injury will be paramount for his stock. Golden finished with 12.5 sacks in 2016. Both players are listed as questionable for Sunday.
  • The Cardinals’ new 4-3 defense has looked more like a 4-2-5 look thus far, and that’s resulted in Haason Reddick seeing sparse action in his second season. The 2017 first-rounder’s played only 17 snaps thus far. The Cards’ 2014 first-rounder, Deone Bucannon, was benched against the Rams, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes. Bucannon’s been a full-time starter at either safety or linebacker since his rookie year. Bucannon is also in a contract year. Josh Bynes leads Cardinals linebackers with 141 snaps, and Pro Football Focus tabbed him as the No. 10 overall ‘backer through two games. Bucannon sits 70th on that list, mostly due to Week 1 struggles. Nomad defender Gerald Hodges replaced Bucannon in Week 2.
  • Andre Smith remains out for Arizona because of an elbow injury, meaning John Wetzel will start again for the Cards in Week 3, McManaman notes. Considering Khalil Mack frequently lines up opposite right tackles, this poses another problem for a Cards team that’s experienced many thus far this season.

NFC West Notes: Bucannon, 49ers, Seahawks

Deone Bucannon spent his 2017 offseason rehabbing from an injury, and the Cardinals became concerned the fifth-year linebacker suffered a serious setback at practice Thursday. But a day later, the team is relieved after an MRI revealed Bucannon did not damage any knee ligaments, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Bucannon did suffer a hyperextended knee and bruised a kneecap, per Rapoport, and the Cards aren’t going to rush him back as a result. Ankle injuries limited Bucannon to 12 games last season, and 2018 will be critical for him. He will play this season on a fifth-year option and is due for 2019 free agency. The Cards’ shift to a 4-3 look will result in their 2014 first-round pick lining up at outside linebacker. Initially a safety, Bucannon moved to an inside ‘backer slot and played there full-time over the past two seasons.

The 49ers saw a former first-round pick go down during camp as well. Here’s the latest from the NFC West:

  • Arik Armstead missed much of the past two seasons because of an injury, and the 49ers‘ 2015 first-rounder’s now dealing with another one. A hamstring malady is expected to sideline Armstead for multiple weeks, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Armstead went on IR with a shoulder injury in 2016, and a broken hand ended his 2017 campaign. He also underwent foot surgery this offseason. The 49ers picked up Armstead’s $9MM 2019 option in May. He’s expected to remain a defensive end starter this season.
  • The Seahawks drafted Alex McGough in the seventh round, but ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson notes he hasn’t provided Austin Davis with much competition. It appears certain Davis will reprise his role as Russell Wilson‘s top backup this season. “Austin has been really solid,” Pete Carroll said. “I think it’s been really hard for Alex to get going. He’s been struggling. It’s been hard for him. We are a very high-tech offense, there’s a lot going on and he hasn’t been able to get back to even where he was in the offseason.”
  • Kyle Shanahan admitted he’s had doubts he made the right decision to convince John Lynch to trade up to select Joe Williams in the 2017 fourth round, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes. A Utah product who stepped away from football in college due to off-field issues, Williams did not impress the 49ers’ staff during 2017 training camp and has yet to play in a game. While Shanahan’s seen a stronger commitment from the second-year back this summer, Williams isn’t a roster lock. He’s competing with Raheem Mostert for the 49ers’ third-string running back job, behind Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida, Branch adds.
  • Before the 49ers made an offer to McKinnon, Kyle Juszczyk helped recruit him. The NFL’s highest-paid fullback began texting with the former Vikings backup running back during the winter, and once informed the 49ers were going after him, the team told Juszczyk to keep pushing with his recruitment, Juszczyk said (via Maiocco). McKinnon surprised many by fetching a four-year, $30MM contract, including his new fullback. “I don’t know if I knew he was going to be the top-paid running back in the market that year,” Juszczyk said. “But I figured he’d be a guy that we’d be interested in.”

West Notes: Lynch, Staley, Buchanon

The Broncos turned to another quarterback, but got the same results in today’s loss to Oakland. Second-year signal caller Paxton Lynch was the latest passer to rack up a defeat during the team’s seven game losing streak. However, the loss was not the only thing the former first round pick suffered on Sunday.

Lynch was forced to exit the game in the third quarter after an apparent right ankle injury, reports Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post. The quarterback was seen very emotion on the sideline when he learned that his day would be done. It’s a crushing development for Lynch, who’d been waiting for his chance to get on the field as he’d been recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason.

Trevor Siemian was good in relief, but with the team at 3-8 and clearly out of the playoff hunt, I’m sure head coach Vance Joseph wanted to see what he had in his young gunslinger. It remains to be seen just how serious the injury actually is, though it appears to be distinct possibility that the team will have to switch starters again in Week 13.

  • The 49ers have dealt with a variety of injuries this year, but seemed to avoid another to one of the team’s best players. Left tackle Joe Staley left the game for just one play after an apparent leg injury, but was able to return without much issue. The veteran lineman clarified after the game that he simply hyperextended his knee and is fine, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians confirmed that linebacker Deone Bucannon has injured right leg, says Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. While the news is concerning on its own, there is added negativity because it’s the same leg that Bucannon had surgery on during offseason, which forced him to miss the first three games of the year. It’s not known just how long it’s expected to keep the 25-year-old out, but the team does have three reserves in Josh Bynes, Scooby Wright and Bryson Albright to take those snaps should the injury force Bucannon to miss time.
  • The Seahawks came out of their win over the 49ers with few injuries of their own. Head coach Pete Carroll said that defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was “Ok” after leaving in the fourth quarter, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. However, Henderson also passes along that second-string tight end Luke Willson suffered a bit more serious of an injury after he was removed in the second quarter with a concussion. Carroll did mention to reporters that the tight end has a chance to play in next week’s game, but he obviously must pass concussion protocol first. In the meantime, both Jimmy Graham and third-stringer Nick Vannett were able to find the end zone without Willson in the lineup.

West Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Ford

The 49ers have used three first-round picks on defensive linemen since 2015, and each of those figures to be in the starting lineup Sunday. With Tank Carradine on IR, Solomon Thomas will likely start at San Francisco’s strong-side defensive end spot, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The 49ers have used Thomas as an edge defender, but DC Robert Saleh envisions the No. 2 overall pick as a “premier inside rusher” once he develops. Saleh said Thomas “could be a good edge rusher,” so it’s clear the first-year 49ers coordinator wants to see how the Stanford product functions from a defensive tackle spot.

We do need to find ways to get him inside to rush the passer a little bit more,” Saleh said, via Barrows.

The 49ers, though, used first-round picks on interior defenders Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner the previous two years. Buckner rates as Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 interior defender, behind only J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh, through three games. The new-look 49ers defensive staff wanted to decrease Buckner’s workload upon being hired, Saleh calling it “criminal” for Buckner to exceed 1,000 snaps as he did as a rookie, but Barrows observes those stances softening as the season’s begun. At 179 defensive plays, Buckner is on pace for nearly the 1,005 snaps he played last season now. Injuries to Carradine and Ronald Blair, and the release of current Packers cog Quinton Dial, has thinned out a potential 49ers D-line rotation.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions.

  • The Cardinals are not receiving Jared Veldheer‘s best work thus far this season. The team’s move of the veteran left tackle to the right side has not gone well, and Veldheer might be playing in his final Arizona season. While Veldheer took a day away from the team to consider leaving football earlier this year, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com notes (on Twitter) the veteran lineman would like to return in 2018. However, Jurecki does not expect him to stay with the Cardinals. Veldheer’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $35MM deal — one that includes a $10.25MM cap hold for 2018. He profiles as a cap casualty at this point.
  • Deone Bucannon will make his season debut after an extensive layoff due to an ankle injury. Bruce Arians confirmed the inside linebacker will be ready to suit up in Week 4. Haason Reddick, the fill-in player here, will likely start Sunday while Bucannon is gradually worked back into the fold, per Arians.
  • The Chiefs, though, will be without a key front-seven piece in their Week 4 game. Dee Ford will miss Kansas City’s Monday-night home game against Washington. With Tamba Hali already being conserved for the stretch run via the PUP list, this will leave the AFC West leaders thin at outside linebacker. Ford’s dealing with a back injury.
  • The gap between Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard remains too wide for the 49ers to consider a quarterback change, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. Hoyer’s system knowledge giving the embattled 49ers their best chance to win now makes him unlikely to be unseated any time soon, Maiocco notes.

West Notes: Bolles, Bucannon, Chiefs, Hawks

Despite the Broncos fearing multiple severe injuries for left tackle Garett Bolles, the rookie suited up for practice on Thursday and has a chance to play against the Bills. Vance Joseph (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post) said the team thought Bolles’ injury, determined to be a bruise on his lower left leg, was more serious than it ended up being. Joseph said the first-round pick is “getting better fast” but is obviously hesitant about proclaiming him ready to return to the starting lineup. Bolles has fared well in his first two games, prior to being carted off in the third quarter of the Broncos’ Week 2 win.

Bolles said he also “thought it was serious” and will not rush back. Denver’s bye comes in Week 5, so holding Bolles out for two games would make sense. But his return to practice, on a limited basis, so soon bodes well for a possible return against the Bills or Raiders before the week off.

Donald Stephenson initially received the call to replace Bolles at left tackle Sunday, but utility man Allen Barbre ended up seeing more time there. Barbre and Max Garcia were alternating at left guard, but the veteran played tackle with the Eagles at times in recent years and provides versatility if the Broncos aren’t keen on throwing Stephenson — whom they replaced at right tackle in free agency with Menelik Watson — back out there. Bolles represents the fourth left tackle starter in four seasons for the Broncos, who have also seen numerous players line up with the first-stringers on the right edge in that time.

Here’s more from the Western divisions prior to tonight’s NFC West matchup.

  • Deone Bucannon‘s lengthy recovery from an ankle injury, one he re-aggravated just before Week 1, could produce the Cardinals inside linebacker returning to action in Week 3, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes (on Twitter). Bruce Arians said (via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com) Bucannon’s “getting real close” to returning but would be on a snap count if he did so against the Cowboys. The Cards have used Karlos Dansby and first-rounder Haason Reddick as starters while Bucannon’s been out. Bucannon underwent surgery in May.
  • Speaking of injury returns, it sounds like the Chiefs are planning to make cornerback Steven Nelson one of their IR-boomerang players. The third-year corner is eligible to come off IR in Week 9, and Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star notes that return is likely. For the time being, the Chiefs have gotten by with 2016 practice squad promotion Terrance Mitchell operating as Marcus Peters‘ top complement. However, Pro Football Focus rates Mitchell and Phillip Gaines — the former third-round pick whom Mitchell usurped late last season — as its Nos. 96 and 100 full-time cornerbacks through two games. A core muscle injury sidelined Nelson, K.C.’s primary slot defender last season.
  • Do the Seahawks miss Jermaine Kearse? Seattle’s offense has largely sputtered in its first two games, and Doug Baldwin does see a hole where Kearse — traded to the Jets for Sheldon Richardson — departed. “Specifically on the football field, just the intricacies that he did in our offense, guys aren’t used to doing it, they didn’t have to do them, because Jermaine was so willing and able to do it, now guys are being called to do those things and that is another challenge for us,” Baldwin said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Paul Richardson and third-round rookie Amara Darboh are seeing more time, Richardson especially, after Kearse’s exit. Baldwin leads Seattle’s wideout contingent with 107 air yards; no other Hawks pass-catcher has 80.

Cardinals’ Deone Bucannon Reinjures Ankle

It does not look like Deone Bucannon will be returning as soon as the Cardinals hoped. The fourth-year linebacker re-aggravated the ankle injury that’s defined his offseason, Bruce Arians said Monday (via Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com, on Twitter).

Arians said the linebacker sprained his ankle on his first day back at practice, which came early last week. The fifth-year Cardinals coach added (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, on Twitter) Bucannon has “no chance” to play Sunday in Arizona’s opener.

Bucannon was on track to be ready by Sunday prior to the setback, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic tweets, and Arians noted this could be a multi-game absence. The Cardinals have Karlos Dansby and first-rounder Haason Reddick in place now that Bucannon is out. Philip Wheeler and Josh Bynes are also in the mix as new additions.

The only member of Arizona’s 2016 inside-linebacking corps set to return this season, Bucannon underwent ankle surgery in May and missed almost all of the Cards’ offseason work. He finished with 89 tackles last season in 13 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Raiders, Broncos, Cards, Rams

The Raiders have activated rookie cornerback Gareon Conley from the active/PUP list, the club announced today, adding that Conley is practicing for the first time on Tuesday. Conley, of course, slid to the 24th overall selection in the draft following rape allegations, but he was eventually cleared and won’t face charges. While he still needs to get up to speed, it’s possible Conley could become a starter sooner rather than later. Fellow cornerback Sean Smith –who’s facing his own legal troubles — has been demoted from Oakland’s starting lineup, meaning Conley could see expanded action during his rookie campaign.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Veteran safety T.J. Ward may not be the only player the Broncos are open to trading, as the club could also listen to offers for fourth-year receiver Cody Latimer. speculates Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). Latimer, a second-round draft choice in 2014, has never broken out in Denver, as he’s posted 16 receptions over three seasons. However, he’s still young (25), plays special teams (41% of the Broncos’ ST plays a year ago), and offers intriguing measurables (here’s his MockDraftable profile). And perhaps most importantly, Latimer could be had for minimal cost, especially given the rise of fellow receivers Jordan Taylor and Kalif Raymond in Denver, as Renck details.
  • While Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon was recently removed from the active/PUP list, it’s an open question as to whether he’ll be ready Week 1, writes Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. The Cardinals have the depth to withstand a short Bucannon absence, as they signed Karlos Dansby, Josh Bynes, and Philip Wheeler and drafted Haason Reddick this offseason. But a Bucannon injury will be felt, as he played on nearly three-quarters of Arizona’s defensive snaps last season, managing 89 tackles in the process. He’s signed through 2018 under the terms of his fifth-year option.
  • Rams tight end Temarrick Hemingway will require surgery for a fractured fibula and is out indefinitely, tweets Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. Hemingway, who appeared in eight games last season after being drafted in the sixth round, has been challenging for a rotational role behind fellow tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee, per Bonsignore, which makes Hemingway’s injury all the more devastating. Los Angeles could conceivably sign another tight end before the season begins, although high-profile free agents like Gary Barnidge or Ladarius Green probably aren’t a fit.
  • On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that special taxes may be raised via citizen’s initiative through a simple majority, instead of the two-thirds majority that was previously required, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune. While those new rules won’t help bring the Chargers back to San Diego, it could allow the city to eventually lure another club to the region. However, the Chargers’ 2016 stadium measure received only 43.64% of the vote, per Acee, meaning taxes wouldn’t have been raised even under the new conditions.